By Andrew Faris
A lot of us by now have seen the picture of Michael Phelps smoking a bong.
One question for all the non-Christians who are on him for being a bad example: why do you care? In a culture that is always willing to pull out the "we all did it in college" stamp of approval (you know, for people like the president, who practically got hailed as an everyman for admitting to it), why does it matter?
"Well he's a bad example to all the kids" they say. But since we apparently don't care if those kids grow up and smoke pot anyway, what exactly is Phelps a bad example of? Maybe he is actually a great example of how to manage recreational drug usage and career success. After all, he apparently waited until after winning eight gold medals to smoke dope- or at least he never got caught for it before that. Thataway to keep success first and pot smoking second, Mike!
To me this whole thing is just another case of total moral confusion in a pluralistic society. The moral outrage that has ensued is assumed to be reasonable. No one gets mad at you for getting mad at Michael Phelps- of course we should all be disappointed, right? But I don't know what I'd be disappionted about if I wasn't a Christian.
Heck, as a Christian I'm definitely not disappointed because I don't consider Michael Phelps (or any other ultra-successful athlete, musician, politician, or even philanthropist) to be a hero anyway. Impressive, yes. A model of discipline, yes. But not a hero. I look up to Piper, Mahaney, Carson, and a few personal mentors because they point me to Jesus and his kingdom. And if I didn't look up to people who pointed me to Jesus, I'd have no principles that Phelps would be violating.
And I'll tell you this much: eight gold medals or not, I'm sure not surprised to find out that humans sin. Whatever else there is to say about Phelps, in some ways he is apparently just like everyone else.